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Gold mine receives containerised water treatment plants

WATER TREATMENT PLANT The filter water treatment plant at the Lafigue gold mine

FEED TANK A feed tank for the softening process of potable water

1st December 2023

     

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Endeavour Mining Corporation’s Lafigué gold mine, which is located about 120 km northeast of Bouake, in Côte d’Ivoire, has been equipped with three water treatment plants that will be fed raw water from several boreholes situated at the mine.

The three water treatment plants were designed, engineered and completed by WEC Projects – a South African engineering, procurement and construction contractor that specialises in water and sewage treatment plants – earlier this year.

Each water plant will only require human intervention for monitoring processes from the control room and adding treatment chemicals to the water. The water treatment plants will be highly automated with human-machine interfaces, motor control systems, and programmable logic controllers.

One of the three water treatment plants consists of a filtration unit, which will treat water that will only be used for dust control, fire extinguishment, processing, and other nonconsumption-based applications at the mine.

This filtration unit comprises two modified shipping containers, and is capable of processing water up to 130 m3/h. Further, one 6 m container will facilitate the electric controls, and another 12 m container will house four filter units, a blower unit, and a primary pump system.

To remove solids and organic compounds from the filtration system during the filtration process, activated carbon media and specialised silica media will be used.

The other two water treatment units will be used for treating water to a potable standard, for use by mineworkers and mine personnel in the mine and at the mine camp. These potable water treatment plants will be installed in 12 m shipping containers and have the capacity to process 10 m3/h and 5 m3/h of water each day.

Before feeding the treated water back into the mine and to the mine camp, the water will be disinfected using chlorine hypochlorite and ultraviolet radiation. Additionally, the water will be remineralised after being softened using resin and salts.

In relation to labour processes, the time spent on site by the WEC Projects team was minimised, as each water treatment unit was containerised. This also ensured a reduction in the time spent on transportation and assembly on site.

“The biggest challenge for WEC Projects was the tight deadline involved. WEC secured the project in November 2022, and we completed the plants in April 2023. This required considerable streamlining of the fabrication and assembly processes.

“We were also challenged by the logistics of securing the various components from suppliers on time, including the electricals and instrumentation which have been affected by the worldwide chip shortage. Some of the components, such as the ultraviolet disinfection system, required long lead times,” WEC Projects project manager Ashly Forster said in a statement released in September.

Going forward, WEC Projects will conduct audits of the plants on a quarterly basis to ensure each water treatment plant’s effectiveness and operational efficiency, making the necessary adjustments to ensure positive performance of the plants.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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